Wales politics

Welsh ministers accused of 'cosying-up' to Vietnam over education links

Vietnam flag Image copyright Getty Images

A Welsh minister has defended her government's work with Vietnam after a Conservative assembly member accused it of "cosying-up" with the communist country.

Eluned Morgan said her government is "very proud" of its "strong education relationship with Vietnam".

But Darren Millar said it is regularly accused of human rights violations.

The Welsh Government has been bidding to attract Vietnamese students to Welsh universities.

Education minister Kirsty Williams has visited the country as part of efforts to promote the sector.

Last year she signed a memorandum of understanding with the minister of education and training in Vietnam, Xuan Nha.

Ms Morgan told AMs the government was helping develop the country's education systems.

In the Senedd on Wednesday Mr Millar accused the Welsh Government of having "rolling up the red carpet" for the minister when he visited in 2019.

"The Vietnamese regime is a police state, which is regularly accused of human rights violations - not least in relation to the minority Christian community there," Mr Millar said, asking what discussions the Welsh Government had with the government on the issue.

Image caption Eluned Morgan (C) defended the Welsh Government's education links with Vietnam

"We should be very proud of the fact that we are developing a very strong education relationship with Vietnam," said Ms Morgan, who said the UK Conservative government also had a close relationship with Vietnam.

"This is an up and coming country and there are opportunities for us therefore to help to influence the future direction of the country," she said, adding it was a "really important strategic partnership".

"International relations in the area of human rights is always potentially quite difficult, but you have to make some decisions that are difficult some times," the minister said.

"We have made in this instance a decision that it is in our constructive and partnership interests", she added.

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